Black Holes, Bathtubs and Big Brains
Watch ‘rotational super-radiant scattering’ in a vortex flow and get inspired!
Imagine a region in space where the force of gravity is so hardcore that nothing — not even light — can escape. A region so dense that an object as tiny as a pea would have the same mass as our entire planet. A region with physical conditions so extreme that they have not yet been reproduced in any laboratory — until now. This phenomenon — first embodied in Einstein’s brainy field equations and popularized in pop culture and countless sci-fi flicks — is a black hole: one of the most exotic, chaotic and brain-bending things in the universe.
Not long ago, a team of nerds at the University of Nottingham in the UK simulated a black hole monster in a bathtub. Using a 10-foot tub, 2,000 liters of water, dye, paper and bucketloads of brain power, the boffins modeled the freaky-deaky behavior of a black hole, showing that when waves pass outside the cosmic monster, they emerge from the other side with increased energy — energy the waves borrowed from the black hole itself. This is known as ‘super-radiance,’ and involves tidal forces, a swirling vortex and a bunch of cool notation that looks like this: At VIVISXN, we go gaga for exotic maths and gorgeous graphics. And black hole theory has inspired an infinitude of awesome optics and otherworldly ideas (like wormholes, holograms and quantum craziness). Watch the University of Nottingham’s vid below and enjoy the trippy imagery. We’re mesmerized.
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